Bourbon Brownies

bourbon

After indulging in the brown butter bacon ice cream served with a bourbon fudge brownie at Carson Kitchen, Rob and I attempted to recreate this decadent dessert. Step one: the brownie! I’m not much of a bourbon fan, but mixed with chocolate it is delicious! The flavor is subtle and really enhances the cocoa. I like to serve these sweet treats while they are still warm and top them with ice cream (brown butter bacon recipe coming soon). Fresh brownies with melting ice cream—what’s not to love?

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Bourbon Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat 9″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the bourbon to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine sugar and butter, mixing on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined.
  5. Spread into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool in pan on wire rack.

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Happy National Ice Cream Day!

ice cream CollageWith temperatures in the 100’s my favorite dessert to make right now is ice cream! We got an ice cream maker for Christmas and have been putting it to good use making delicious flavors such as chocolate Thin Mint and brown sugar bourbon. I’m always looking for new combinations to try, so with July being National Ice Cream Month and today being National Ice Cream Day, I thought it was fitting to share some recipes that I can’t wait to whip up! Calories don’t count on holidays, right? Looks like July is a free pass for these tasty treats!

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{Watermelon Ice Cream Cones)

ice cream 3

(Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream from The Novice Housewife}

ice cream 4

{Coffee Hazelnut Ice Cream from Top with Cinnamon}

ice cream 6

{Ice Cream Sandwich Cake from A Subtle Revelry}

ice cream 7

{Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwiches from Paper & Stitch}

 

Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

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One thing I miss about living in Washington is the variety of farms and fresh produce. There’s nothing better than a juicy Honeycrisp apple straight from the orchard in the fall. I was excited (and surprised) to hear about a farm here in Las Vegas where you can pick fruits and vegetables right from the source.

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Gilcrease Orchard offers a nice break from the brown, dry desert. It was fun to walk through the fields and orchard, looking for the freshest produce. We went home with some beautiful tomatoes. I will definitely be back in the fall when there are pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts!

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We decided to put the fresh tomatoes to good use and make a refreshing caprese salad. Since we had one tomato left from the grocery store, I used that, too. The difference between the tomatoes from the store and the farm was amazing! Physically, those from the farm were darker in color, juicier, softer and had more seeds. The store-bought tomato was easier to slice because it was firmer, but when it came to taste, it was kind of plain and watery. Lesson learned – farm fresh is much more flavorful! Even Rob, who is happy with non-organic produce from Walmart, was genuinely shocked at the difference. Because this salad is so simple, top-quality tomatoes and mozzarella are important and very noticeable.

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Farm Fresh Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

On a large platter, evenly space out tomato slices. Top with mozzarella sliced and then basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and/or pepper.

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake

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I’m not the only baker in the family. My sister made one of her specialties while I was visiting her last weekend – her cinnamon roll French toast bake. She lives in Twentynine Palms, Calif. and it was so fun to spend some quality time with her and her husband (and their really cute dog, Gunner, of course). She made this tasty breakfast for us before we took a little day trip to Palm Springs. I had never been there, so I loved checking out the cute shops and cafes, especially the chocolate store!

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Now back to the amazing cinnamon roll bake… It’s perfect for a lazy Sunday morning or Christmas brunch. Serve with a fresh cup of coffee topped with homemade whipped cream and I’m a happy camper!

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 cans (12.4 oz. each) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Melt butter and pour in ungreased 13″ x 9″ glass dish.
  3. Separate cans of dough into 16 rolls reserving the icing for later use. Cut each roll into 8 pieces and add to buttered baking dish.
  4. Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in cream, cinnamon and vanilla, until combined. Evenly pour over cinnamon roll pieces. Drizzle syrup on top.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Take metal cover off of icing and microwave for about 15 seconds, until thin enough to drizzle on top of baked cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

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Baked Zucchini Chips

20140119-160559.jpgLooking for a healthy snack? These baked zucchini chips are crispy, flavorful and will satisfy cravings for salty, crunchy potato chips. I really want to like vegetables, but have a hard time finding ones I like and how to prepare them. A little breading and seasoning go a long way because I LOVED these! (I know they obviously aren’t as healthy as the plain vegetable, but it’s a start, right?) They are simple to make, with only 10 minutes prep time and few ingredients. 20140119-160629.jpg

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, sliced (1/4-inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red peppers
  • 1/4 cup milk

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with canola oil.
  2. Whisk together cheese, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder and crushed red pepper in shallow bowl or plate. Pour milk into a separate bowl.
  3. Dip zucchini slices in milk then into bread crumb mixture until lightly coated. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned and crisp. Serve warm. I dipped them in light ranch dressing.

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Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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It’s hard to beat a classic chocolate chip cookie, but this recipe might just take the cake (or the cookie). Brown butter makes everything better and the oatmeal creates a chewy, amazing texture. It was my first time baking with the Silpat non-stick baking mat that my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law got me for Christmas. It worked perfectly and results in easy cleanup!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat baking mat.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally as it continues to cook, until golden brown and smells nutty. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in cooled brown butter until fully incorporated. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients until well mixed. Gently stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  5. Roll dough into balls (about 1 1/2 Tbsp) and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, until edges are set. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely – or eat them warm :)

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

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Pumpkin and pasta – the ultimate comfort foods for fall. I’m trying to make every last pumpkin recipe on my to-cook list before eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint season arrive in full force. If you’re a Starbucks fan, you know that this season arrived on Nov. 1. Hello, red cups! This means time is running out, so here is a delicious dish that uses my favorite fall flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 can pumpkin 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

How-to:

  1. For the ravioli dough: In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour and salt. In a small bowl (or measuring cup) mix water and eggs. Add to flour mixture and stir until incorporated. Knead the dough until firm. It shouldn’t be too sticky, so add additional flour until it doesn’t stick to your hands. Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for one hour.
  2. For pumpkin filling: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together pumpkin, brown sugar and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To assemble ravioli: Unwrap ravioli dough and place on floured working area (I floured parchment paper and taped it to the countertop). Use a floured rolling pin to roll out dough until very thin. Use a ravioli cutter (or pizza slicer) to cut dough into 2″ x 2″ squares. Place about one tablespoon of filling in the middle of one square. Place another square over it and use a fork to press the edges together. Repeat until you run out of dough (makes about 25).
  4. To cook ravioli: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. To make brown butter sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Add ravioli and gently stir until coated. Serve on plates and sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy :)

 

Homemade Guacamole

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Holy guacamole! With football season underway (Go Seahawks and Huskies!), there’s no better gameday snack than chips and dip. I love this simple guacamole recipe because it’s more about the avocado and not a green paste you buy at a store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • Half of a jalapeño,
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Cut avocados in half, take out pits. Cut and scoop out into small bowl. Mash with fork until desired consistency (chunky or more of a solid mixture)
  2. Scoop out seeds of jalapeño. Dice jalapeño, roma tomato and onion. Mix into bowl with avocado until fully incorporated.

 

Easy Egg Salad Sandwich

eggWhether it’s for home, school or the office, egg salad sandwiches are a healthy and substantial lunch. Although with spoonfuls of mayo it can be highly caloric and fatty. Instead, I like to use nonfat cottage cheese. This makes for a high protein, low-fat meal that will keep you full until dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard
  • sprinkle of salt
  • whole wheat pita pocket

How to:

  • In a small bowl using a fork, cut the eggs into small chunks.
  • Stir in cottage cheese, mayo and mustard. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Spoon into pita pocket.
  • Keep refrigerated.

Honey Sesame Chicken… Crock Pot Recipe!

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Crock Pots are so easy to use and results in delicious meals! It’s my favorite way to cook meat because you just throw it in and don’t have to deal with it raw. This recipe is pretty simple and uses ingredients that are most likely already in your kitchen. The sweet and tangy taste combined with the tender chicken makes it a must-try recipe. It smells amazing while cooking, too!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves = 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

How to:

  • Place chicken in Crock Pot.
  • In a medium bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, oil and red pepper flakes. Pour in Crock Pot and arrange chicken so that it is covered as much as possible. I also stirred it up about every hour so that it was coated evenly, but it’s probably fine if you leave it cooking while you aren’t around, too. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove chicken and place on cutting board. Leave the sauce in the Crock Pot. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1/3 cup water; add to sauce and stir until combined. Cover and cook on high for 5-10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Place shredded chicken back in Crock Pot with the sauce for a few more minutes, to soak in more flavor.
  • Serve and enjoy! It tastes great over brown rice and sprinkled with green onions.